Saturday, May 22, 2010

Announcing the Owl & Possum Help Nest

Greetings Grammophiles,

Beginning June 1st, this blog will become the new electronic home for the retiring print version of the Purdue OWL Help Nest. In the past, the Help Nest served as a forum for discussing difficult questions about grammar, style, and usage. But because the Help Nest appeared as a regular component of the monthly Purdue OWL Newsletter, it became increasingly difficult to address all of our users' questions in a timely fashion. In short, the Help Nest needs to move into the digital age.

Secondarily, the Help Nest's audience has largely been limited to newsletter subscribers. It is time for the Help Nest to expand its reach beyond what the OWL editorial team can fit into the newsletter's currently limited size and scope.
What better way to achieve both of these objectives than to move the Help Nest over to The Grammar Gang blog? Thanks to the Grammar Gang's international team of coordinators as well as its global audience, we believe the Help Nest will definitely be able to expand its reach. We also hope that the Help Nest will become more discussion-oriented and have less of a dictatorial, top-down feel (no more: this is the right answer because we said so!).

How will it all work? We invite any and all questions about grammar, style, or usage to this thread (or any other for that matter). In turn, the editorial team will select one or more questions for a more detailed biweekly "write-up." Particularly thorny questions will also be taken from the Purdue OWL's email service.

As we have noted in previous posts, we do not claim to have all the answers, and especially not the definitive right answer to grammatical dilemmas. We will, however, try to put these issues in some sort of rhetorical context. Grammar questions often do not hinge on "correct or incorrect" but rather "right time and wrong time." So the next time someone scolds you for splitting your infinitives, you can say, "Ah, yes but I read on the Help Nest that to never split infinitives is like never saying 'gonna.'" There's always an exception.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The Owl and Possum Help Nest

Monday, May 10, 2010

A cup of coffee or: I'll have a super supremo grande please!

Have you ever noticed how confusing the names of coffee cup sizes are?

Long gone is the logical small medium or large - there is a whole new world of coffee sizes out there.

Starbucks is calling its coffee cups: ''Tall'' (meaning ''not tall,'' or ''small''), ''Grande'' (meaning ''medium'') and ''Venti'' (meaning, just guessing here "smallish').

One of our own possums Andrea has just ordered a "medium" coffee and received a "large" while she actually inspired one coffee shop to call its largest size ''jumbo'' because they were constantly giving her a medium coffee instead of the tallest one which is what she thought she was ordering.

But I think that Brady's comment takes the prize. He writes: As per the ordering size chaos that is infecting every shop in the US ... if you ever happen to visit a Coldstone Creamery (fancy ice cream shop), the sizes are "Like It / Love It / Gotta Have It." I just say "small please."

Our most trendy coffee shop chain here in Australia, Cibo, call their coffee "small", "grande" and "alto" and look at you sideways if you try to order anything else!

Share your coffee cup size confusion! Why is this happening?